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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Continuing with the 100 life-enriching little nuances series…

I have gathered a posie of other men’s flowers, and nothing but the thread that binds them is mine own. –John Bartlett

When my dad told me he wanted to begin reading the Bible, I gave him mine. It was full of highlighted passages and notes I’d written throughout its pages – most of which I thought probably wouldn’t mean a whole lot to him.

IMG00240A few days later, I asked him how his reading was going. He told me he had read the entire book of John and he said he had a lot of questions. But first he wondered about the blank pages in the back that I’d filled up with various quotations.

“There is a lot of wisdom on those pages,” he said.

“Whenever somebody says something that helps me understand myself – or anything – better, I jot it down,” I said. “I transferred those quotes to my Bible one day so I could have them all in one place.”

I asked him which ones spoke to him. He said he liked the quote, “Don’t let the dirt of your yesterdays bury your tomorrow.” And he liked this one too, “If every man swept his own back porch, the whole world would be clean.” (Unfortunately, I cannot give you a source for either quote because I didn’t record one.)

By expressing his interest my list of quotes I got the feeling he was reaching out for a life preserver for the first time in a long time. The words offered him hope – partially, I think, because he knew I’d found hope in those many quotations; and partially, I think, because he was beginning to read the Bible and he was learning that as long as we breathe, redemption is close.

After he died, his Bible became my Bible again. I would have loved to have found a page on which he jotted quotations that spoke to him, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, I found this on the “Special Events” page near the front, “This Bible was given to me by my oldest son Lee, July 6-98.”

If a collection of quotes is what Bartlett said – a posy of other’s men’s flowers that are bound together with thread that is our own, then I think the collection of quotes that can be found in the back of the Bible that became my dad’s was bound together with mutual respect between a father and a son for the people they were becoming.


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